One afternoon in 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig were happily engaged and on a hunt for the perfect wedding cake. Along with Deborah Munn, Craig's mother, the couple made their way to Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado to talk layers, flavors, and general confections. The sweetness of this story stops there. "We didn't specify we were a gay couple," Mullins told Refinery29 over the phone. "We didn't even think of mentioning it." Before they even opened the folder full of ideas they'd brought along for the appointment, Jack Phillips — the owner of the shop — made it clear they were unwelcome. He told them off the bat that he would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple due to his religious beliefs. What followed was an incredibly uncomfortable and pregnant pause, according to Mullins. "We got up and left," he said. "It was embarrassing and humiliating." Later, Mullins and Craig shared their misadventure with Masterpiece Cakeshop on Facebook in a post that inevitably went viral. The following year, the American Civil Liberties Union and the A.C.L.U. of Colorado filed a lawsuit on the couple's behalf; the case made its way to court, where an administrative judge ruled that the bakery was guilty of illegal discrimination. Masterpiece Cakeshop appealed, even after the Colorado Civil Rights Commission affirmed that decision, on May 30, 2014.
This is for everyone who could or would go through this same thing we went through.
This week, the case finally came to a close when the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that a cake shop can't refuse service to LGBT couples based on who they are. "Religious objections to anti-discrimination laws are not new and they are not specific to laws prohibiting discrimination against gay people," Ria Mar, the staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project who argued the case, said in a statement. "Time and again, courts have found that sincerely held religious beliefs do not give businesses a license to discriminate. [Yesterday], the court affirmed that open to the public means open to everyone, including lesbians and gay men,” she also said in a statement released directly by the A.C.L.U. As for Mullins and Craig, they got hitched without any other major hitches, marrying in Massachusetts before going back to their home state of Colorado to celebrate with family and friends. After their story spread across the Internet, the couple was inundated with cake offers — "even from China," Craig noted — and, ultimately, they landed on a special plan. Their cake may have looked simple with its impeccably frosted exterior, but inside was a surprise. "We wound up having a rainbow layer," they shared, "because in the end, it became a political statement." "It is no longer acceptable to turn people away at places of business just for being who they are, just for being gay. Religious beliefs do not allow anybody to discriminate against other people," Mullins shared. "I feel like all of these small voices that are not being heard — we’ve heard a lot of their stories," Craig added. "That’s another reason we took on this battle: This is for everyone who could or would go through this same thing we went through."